How Social Signals Affect SEO: A Complete Guide

Have you heard about social signals in passing but want to learn more about their affect on SEO? Click here for a beginner-friendly guide.

Keyword(s): social signals

There are so many different factors that go into determining where your website falls in the search engine rankings.

We know that you likely already constantly analyze and update your SEO strategy to reflect changes in the way people search, current SEO trends, and of course, shifts in the Google Algorithm.

But one aspect of SEO that you might not be as well-versed in — or even truly understand the importance of?

Social signals.

SEO and social media go hand in hand, but unfortunately, many brands today don’t know how to optimize their social media strategy so that you rise in the search engine rankings.

But what are social signals, and how can you improve your own?

Keep on reading this post to find out.

What Are Social Signals?

Before we get into anything else, let’s make sure that you fully understand what we mean when we talk about “social signals.”

Social signals, in the simplest possible terms, are when people interact in some way with your brand on social media. This might be when someone “likes” a video that you’ve posted. A social signal could be when someone shares one of your company’s blog posts to their own account.

A social signal could be a vote, a follow, a pin, a comment, and even the number of views that a piece of your content gets.

First of all, social signals are incredibly useful data points, because they help companies to understand how effective the content they’re making is, and whether or not their target market responds well to it.

Think of these signals as a kind of “vote” that help you to determine if you’re connecting with your market in the right way.

They’ll also help you to determine which of the most common social media platform your market is spending the most time on. For example, if a piece of content only gets about 20 shares on Facebook, but more than 250 retweets?

You’ll quickly be able to tell that your market spends much more time on Twitter than on Facebook.

In addition to these data points, we know that you want to learn more about the connection between these social signals and your search engine ranking.

But can the number of likes, shares, and follows that you have really help you to rise in the search engine results?

The truth is that, for quite some time, even the top digital marketing experts didn’t fully understand how social media affects SEO.

Let’s now take a look at how that connection is evolving today.

SEO and Social Signals: What You Need to Know

When you think of SEO, you likely think of things like linkbuilding, keywords, on-page optimization, and other, more traditional methods of increasing your standing in search engine results.

And for a while, especially before social media became the dominating force that it is today, those traditional methods were the main foundations of a solid SEO strategy.

But several Google Algorithm updates later, combined with a serious change in how people interact with brands on the Internet, it was impossible to leave social media out of what determines a ranking factor.

Think about it.

The more people share your links and articles, the higher the number of the people who are likely to visit your website. This means you’ll get more clicks, a higher overall dwell time, and even an increased conversion ratio.

These are all factors that increase your overall SEO score.

Let’s take a look now at the direct and indirect ways that social media SEO works to give you the kind of results you’ve been looking for.

Direct Social Media Influence on SEO

First of all, let’s look at how social signals directly impact your rankings.

These signals include the number of people that like or follow your company’s page on Instagram, Facebook, or another platform.

Direct social media signals also include the number of shares or retweets your content gets, as well as your general number of mentions. It also includes those who include a link to your website in their updates and shares.

When we talk about direct influence, you should think of it as the more straightforward, “obvious” way that SEO and social media go hand in hand.

As we’ve mentioned, the more followers you have, the more visitors you’ll get. Direct influence is a kind of meeting point between old school, “traditional” SEO tactics and social media.

Now, let’s take a look at the more indirect influence that social signals have on SEO.

Understanding Indirect Influence

Of course, the indirect influence of social signals on your overall SEO is a bit more complicated.

Examples of indirect influence include the number of reviews that you get on third-party review sites like Yelp or Google My Business. They also include repeat site visitors, and inbound links to your website.

You need to think of inbound influence as what increases your overall brand awareness. The higher the number of people that know about your brand, the more likely they are to interact with you and link to you.

The truth is that linkbuilding and backlinking are still the bread and butter of SEO.

Your social media strategy can help you to become a brand that’s seen as an “authority,” or a “major player” within your industry. First of all, this is great for building consumer trust.

But the more people that look to you for advice, the greater the chance that high-quality websites will link to your website.

The quality of your backlinks is a huge ranking factor in your SEO score.

Speaking of building trust, let’s now examine the impact of online reviews on your ranking.

Online Reviews and SEO

Close to 100% of consumers say that, before they work with a company or buy a product, they make sure to read online reviews about it first.

This means that the more reviews you have, the more likely people will be to do business with you — and visit your website, and spend a long time browsing through it.

Plus, remember that your customers see both reviews sites and social media as a direct customer service line. (So, you better make sure that you always take the time to answer those Facebook messages.)

Finally, having reviews is a huge influence on your local search ranking factor. Especially if you have reviews on Google My Business, you can be almost certain that Google will crawl through those reviews, and use them to determine your ranking factor.

Onsite Optimization for Social Signals

Now that you have a better understanding of how social media affects SEO, we know that you are dying to know how to make it work for your website and brand.

First, let’s take a look at the things you can do on your website to increase the likelihood of more positive and consistent social signals.

First of all, you need to make sure that your homepage and all of your internal pages have buttons that take site visitors directly to your social media platforms.

Your visitors can follow you on all of these platforms, or they can choose the one that is the most important to them.

Just make sure that you maintain a consistent presence (same profile picture, etc.) on all of these platforms. This will help to ensure that your brand’s image doesn’t end up getting muddled.

Additionally, when you write a blog post, make sure that you include a “share this article” button at the top or the bottom of the page.

This makes it as easy as possible for your readers to share an article they connected with or found helpful. It means they don’t have to take the time to copy and paste a link into their social media accounts.

Finally, make sure that you actually have a blog!

It’s an awesome way not only to build consumer trust, but also to ensure that your followers actually have something to share and interact with on social media.

Offsite Optimization for Social Signals

Your offsite social signals are often simply your presence on social media platforms.

This means that you’ll need to claim your Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and even your LinkedIn profiles.

Remember that, in many cases, if you don’t do this?

Your competitors may be able to do it for you. Do you really want your biggest competition to be the one in control of your brand on social media?

We didn’t think so.

Make sure that you interact with your followers as much as possible on these social media platforms. Respond to questions and comments, “like” as many of their posts as you can, and even consider featuring some of your most loyal followers on your site or blog.

This is an awesome way to show your customers just how much you appreciate them — and that you’re listening to what you have to say. That’s a great way to ensure that people bookmark your website, and that they keep coming back to it.

Additionally, we strongly suggest that you consider writing guest posts for other popular industry blogs.

This is a smart way to show your followers that you have relationships with some of the biggest players in your industry.

To that end, we also suggest working with a few social media influencers. These are people with a huge number of followers on social media.

Forming business relationships with these influencers will expose your brand to new followers who are likely already interested in what you’re selling.

Keep Social Media Postings Consistent

One final thought that we’ll leave you with when it comes to social signals for SEO?

Consistency is key.

Think of every post that you create and upload to your social media accounts and your website as building momentum.

If you have one week where you post five blog posts, but the next week, you don’t publish any?

That’s not going to keep people coming back to your website, nor is it going to do much to increase your follower count.

It’s important to keep your posting schedule as consistent as possible, both when it comes to blogging and general, smaller social media posts.

One way to make sure that you actually pull this off?

Consider hiring professional blog writers and SEO experts to help you to create not only better content, but also to ensure that it’s published consistently.

This will give you the opportunity to expand the number of social signals that you get continuously over time.

You can be certain that Google and other search engines will certainly take note of that kind of consistency and progress.

Looking for Professional Help with Social Signals?

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand just how important social signals are when it comes to influencing your brand’s overall SEO strategy.

Remember that there are both direct and indirect ways that social media and social signals in general influence your overall ranking factor.

You’ll need to take consistent and measured steps that keep your followers interested and tell the search engine Algorithms that you’re an authority in your industry.

Of course, we know that you can’t always do it on your own.

We’re here to help you.

Spend some time on our website to learn more about the services that we have to offer.

When you’re ready to make a change for the better when it comes to your social signals, reach out to us to make it happen.